Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has named the Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith as professor of urban ministry. He will begin his service June 1, 2013.
“After Dr. Ronald Peters was called two and a half years ago to be president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, we began an exhaustive nation-wide search to replace him,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III, president and professor of homiletics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. “In Drew Smith we believe we have found an outstanding, internationally known candidate who, building on the strong foundation laid by Ron Peters, will move our work in urban ministry both locally and globally to new levels of excellence. We are truly impressed with Dr. Smith’s academic credentials and his wide-ranging experience in both the church and the world. His presence here will make Pittsburgh Seminary’s contribution to the well-being of the city of Pittsburgh even more profound and lasting.”
Smith currently serves as scholar-in-residence at the Leadership Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and as co-convener of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race. He is the former director of the Center for Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., Both a social scientist and clergyman, Smith has initiated and directed a number of projects related to religion and public life, including the Public Influences of African-American Churches Project and the Faith Communities and Urban Families Project. These Projects have collected research data on political involvements, community development activities, and outreach ministries of African-American churches in numerous parts of the United States. The Projects have also convened seminars, conferences, and roundtables that have brought clergy, policy makers, and community leaders together to discuss matters pertaining to the church’s public mission and ministry.
Smith has taught at Indiana University, Butler University, Emory University, Case Western Reserve University, and New York Theological Seminary. He has also served as a Research Fellow, including appointments with the Virginia Humanities Foundation/University of Virginia and with the University of South Africa. He has been actively involved in international community development and youth leadership development, initially as an executive staff person at Operation Crossroads Africa during the 1980s. He has traveled widely in Africa and Latin America, with his Africa involvements taking him to 17 African countries since the mid-1980s. Moreover, he served in 2005 as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and in 2009 as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon. He has also lectured in many international venues, including Brazil, Ghana, and Lesotho, and he lectured in Israel in spring of 2007 as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. In addition, as a Baptist clergyman, he has ministered in a number of parish, prison, and campus ministry contexts.
Smith earned his bachelor’s from Indiana University, M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. He has published widely on religion and public life, having written numerous articles and chapters, and edited five books including New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America (Duke University Press, 2003); Long March Ahead: African American Churches and Public Policy in Post-Civil Rights America (Duke University Press, 2004); and Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa (Baylor University Press, 2006). Most recently, he has edited From Every Mountainside: Black Churches and the Broad Terrain of Civil Rights, which is to be published by State University Press of New York in Spring, 2013. He is also currently writing a book on contemporary black clergy activism, which is under contract with Columbia University Press.
In addition to his own work on religion and public life, Smith has served on the advisory boards of other academic and nongovernmental organizations concerned with religion and public life, including the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, the Institute for Church Administration and Management, Calvin College’s Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, and Notre Dame University’s Center for the Study of Latino Religion. Smith has received many honors and awards for his academic leadership, including selection in 2002 as an Emerging Leaders Fellow by a Duke University/University of Cape Town program on Leadership and Public Values, and selection in 2008 for an Indiana Governor’s Black Expo Leadership award.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a graduate professional institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Founded in 1794, the Seminary is located in Pittsburgh, Pa. and more than 300 students are enrolled yearly in the degree programs. The Seminary prepares leaders who proclaim with great joy God’s message of good news in both word and deed. PTS is rooted in the Reformed history of faithfulness to Scripture and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.